BRAVE Lucy Wood is battling back after becoming one of the youngest people in the world to be prescribed a drug to control her disabling neurological condition.
Lucy was aged just five when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), the same disease that her dad suffers from.
But when repeated medication failed to control the condition, the seven-year-old’s parents, Sharon and Stuart, were faced with a horrific decision to make.
Stuart said: “The doctor told us we were treading water because Lucy has actively aggressive MS and he was worried that if she had another fit she would be left with something permanent.
“We had to make a decision on what other treatment to go for and none of them are very nice.”
In the end, Lucy’s parents opted for her to be given tysabriwould, a medication specifically for adults but can cause a brain disease called PML.
Lucy is one of the youngest to be given the drug and was only permitted it after consultations with international medical experts.
The nightmare for Lucy’s parents began when she was just three and went blind in her right eye. The optician rushed her straight to hospital fearing she may have a tumour.
Lucy had to undergo blood tests, a brain scan and a lumbar puncture at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, which led medics to believe she had acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) - an auto immune disorder.
Lucy was put on steroids and within hours her sight had returned.
But over the next few weeks the sight in her other eye started to deteriorate and she started having attacks.
After a third attack when she collapsed at Dene House Primary School, which she still attends, Lucy was rushed to hospital.
Steroids once again calmed the attacks but an MRI scan picked up scarring on Lucy’s brain, which indicated MS.
Stuart, of Peterlee, said: “It was like watching me all over again it was horrendous.”
But it wasn’t until after her fifth birthday party when Lucy collapsed with exhaustion and started vomiting that her parents were sure she had the condition.
A few days later their neurologist confirmed Lucy had MS.
Lucy started on a course of rebif injections, which her dad receives three times a week, to control the condition but after a few months her body started reacting badly.
She was forced to come off it, leaving her parents with limited options as to how her condition could be controlled.
Stuart said: “They told us one medication would take the immune system out, another took away her fertility and the other, tysabri, was specifically for adults and can cause a brain disease called PML.”
Stuart and Sharon spent several months consulting with top medics across the globe to see if tysabriwould be safe for Lucy to take.
“We had to consult with the health profession across the world to ask if this should be given to children.
“Eventually it seemed to be the best of the three.”
In March, Lucy started on the drug and, to date, she has had three infusions of the drug and the future is looking hopeful for the sprightly youngster.
“It’s still pretty early days but we’re very, very hopeful. The reaction is headaches and she’s very flushed in the face but we can live with that.”